Evaluation for Teen Who Tackled World Trade Center

NEW YORK (AP) -
Justin Casquejo passes through security at the Manhattan courthouse Wednesday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Justin Casquejo passes through security at the Manhattan courthouse Wednesday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

A daring teenager who sneaked to the top of the nation’s tallest building — 1 World Trade Center — will be assessed in a program for youthful offenders, a judge said Wednesday.

Dressed in a dark suit and red tie, Justin Casquejo appeared before Midtown Community Court Judge Felicia Mennin, who ordered the 16-year-old to return on April 30.

The slight, shy-looking youth stood quietly before the judge, saying nothing during the brief hearing. He is charged with criminal trespass and BASE jumping, a reference to his alleged movements around the unfinished building. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Casquejo was arrested last month after slipping through a hole in the fence surrounding the 104-story skyscraper at about 4 a.m. and using a ladder to reach scaffolding that took him to the sixth floor. He then took the elevator to the 88th floor, climbed the stairs to the 104th floor and the rooftop, then used a ladder again to reach the peak of the antenna.

The intrepid climber said he had plotted on March 15, the eve of the climb, how to enter the building.

“I was walking around all night trying to figure out how I would enter it,” he told a police officer the next morning. “I know there is no trespassing there.”

Authorities said he slipped through dressed like a construction worker and took photographs from the top.

On Wednesday, Casquejo was mobbed by the media as he arrived at the alternative-sentencing court, which emphasizes community service as a way for low-level offenders to pay back the neighborhood for quality-of-life offenses.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the 16-acre Trade Center site, is reassessing security there in light of two lapses since last summer. In addition to the incident involving Casquejo, three people parachuted from the building in September, producing a video of their jump.